The Shootaround

LeBron James, jump shooter? Michael Redd, the paragon of offensive efficiency? Julian Wright, the answer to the Hornets' depth problems? The TrueHoop Network explains all.

LeBron JamesJohn Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "Now, everyone pretty much can agree that LeBron shooting more Jumpers would be a bad thing -- the league's absolute best jump shooters off the dribble shoot jumpers at around an eFG of 47%, and LeBron's overall field goal percentage is at 50%, and when he's at the basket he converts 72% of his opportunities, and that's before you factor in the fouls he draws.

So the theory goes that his making more jumpers would not only help his percentage by having him make the shots he's going to take anyways, but that having a good jumper would 'open up' his game and allow him more space for drives to the basket.

Tonight's game stood as direct evidence against that theory. For the second straight game, LeBron was uncharacteristically unable to finish at the rim early (4-9 in the immediate basket area), or get foul calls. (4 free throws all night, with two of them coming from a dead-ball foul)

So in the third quarter, LeBron went to the perimeter and started firing deep twos. And making them. LeBron had a 14-point quarter, but it didn't open up any more driving lanes-in fact, it just made him shoot more jumpers, as every field goal attempt LeBron shot in the 3rd was from outside the paint. And since all of LeBron's non-layup or dunk shots come against the 1st defender, it didn't open up lanes for his teammates either-the offense became entirely dependant on LeBron making very tough shots, and LeBron went 1-6 on jumpers in the 4th before just deciding to screw it and flying through the entire defense for two left-handed layups, including one after they tried to double-team him 30 feet away from the hoop. Again, LeBron bailed the team out by making the shots."

Joe AlexanderRob Mahoney of Two Man Game: "The Mavs could do no right in their 133-99 humbling by the shooting hand of the Milwaukee Bucks, an outing in which the Mavs' offense came up as lame as its defense. If you name a classic defensive blunder, it's likely that the Mavs committed it in this one; the gambles were fruitless, the close-outs on shooters were awful, and the rotations were either sloppy or nonexistent. Milwaukee simply ran a relay race last night, with the baton passing from Ramon Sessions (perfect 7-7 from the field) to Richard Jefferson (near triple-double) to Charlie Villanueva (32 and 10) to Michael Redd (27 points on 16 shots). Not only could the Mavs not keep pace overall, but were virtually beaten at every position. This game is certainly Exhibit A1 in the case against the Mavs' defense."

Terry PorterMichael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns: "Four losses in five games later and the Suns are moving further and further behind the pack in the West, lucky to stay in a playoff spot if the season ended today only because of the struggles of Dallas after their 114-109 loss in New York. In that stretch the Suns have lost to two teams they should have beaten (Minnesota, Knicks) and suffered an embarrassing blowout (Boston) after losing a hard-fought overtime game in Denver. And nobody has any clue just where the Suns are right now."

THE FINAL WORD Hardwood Paroxysm: Kicking off the "88 Lines About 30 Teams" series. Roundball Mining Company: A video demonstration of why the Nuggets might want to rethink their defensive strategy on the perimeter. Hornets247: Julian Wright builds his case.